Happy Easter, Kristalans!
It's day 2,693 of quarantine (or so it feels), and while we understand there's a lot going on in your world right now, we hope this issue of the Kristala Dev Blog gives you a chance to take a break from all that's weighing heavy on your heart and mind.
In addition to this issue's updates, we've got some super exciting news that just might offer you a silver lining during these crazy times.
As the drop date for the Kristala demo nears, we're giving you a super-exclusive inside peek into our development process by hosting regularly scheduled LIVE dev streams on both Facebook and Twitch.
From animation adjustments and menu system functionality to all things programming, you can now get an up-close-and-personal look into our full creative process for Kristala.
Interested? Stay tuned to our socials and follow us on Twitch for more information on any upcoming dev stream announcements; we'll be sure to let you know when and where you can catch us in action.
Now that that's covered, let's get into the exciting updates we have to share with you this issue. Just sit back, relax, and take a deeper dive into our fantastic, dark-fantasy world of indie action RPG Kristala.
As our gameplay programmer, Will’s metaphorical plate is always full…and this sprint was certainly no different.
First, Will finished working on our saving, loading, and auto-saving functionality, and made sure the reloading accurately reflected various items, stats, and equipment. He also made locked doors and gates functional with a variety of opening methods.
Next, Will shifted focus to implementing and improving our poison system.
While working, Will uncovered a related bug in which our poison cloud was killing all enemies at once and simultaneously awarding the player infinite Kris (XP). Pretty sweet for players, but definitely not something we actually want to happen in the game.
Luckily, Will was able to fix the bug and get the poison system working properly. Check it out!
After that, Will refined the respawning functionality for the demo. Here's a test video he recorded that shows the work he's been able to accomplish thus far.
Will also looked into a bunch of bugs we discovered while performing various tests.
The first one involved a bug that caused an infinite number of pickups to suddenly appear in a particular area of the level.
YOU get a pickup, and YOU get a pickup! ...EVERYBODY GETS A PICKUP!!! ...Said in our best Oprah voice, of course. ;)
The next bug Will discovered was related to various consumables that were suddenly randomly disappearing upon the player character's death.
Not only were the consumables becoming unequipped (and the greatsword weapon equipping instead of the original weapon that was equipped upon death), but anytime the game reloaded, the player character unexplainably fell infinitely through the level too.
Interestingly enough though, the issue didn't seem to be a problem if the player character died near one of our Kristal Checkpoints.
Upon further inspection, Will realized that the level-falling issue was due to the player respawning before the level could load...thus resulting in the character falling indefinitely through a level that was, in essence, non-existent.
Luckily, once Will figured out what was causing the issue, it became an easy fix.
In addition to her work on our menu system - which you can read about later in this issue - Tiffany fixed a level-streaming issue in which some of our light sources were randomly disappearing and then reappearing based on where the player character was standing.
You can check out more of Tiff's work this sprint in the Menu/UI Design section. Stay tuned to our next issue for more exciting programming updates!
3D Asset Design
Per usual, Nick was quite the busy bee this sprint as he worked on modeling some atmospheric pieces to bring a bit more magic into the Kristala demo level.
First, Nick created a tree infused with the magic of the sacred crystal; it features glowing fruits that you'll be able to pick from the trees and eat to boost your poison resist stat for a given period of time.
Nick's still messing around with how the leaves of the tree will look and how the fruits will ultimately be positioned, but we figured we'd share his progress on this cool piece thus far.
Next, Nick created some warp consumables that will allow players to teleport to and from various Kristal Checkpoints in the game.
The first consumable is one you'll permanently have in your inventory when you start the game. It allows you to warp back to Kristal Checkpoints, but if you choose to use it, it'll be at the expense of your XP, which will be dropped forever and can't be retrieved.
The second item isn't permanently in your inventory, but instead acts as a true consumable. It's a small, crystal-infused rock you can crush in your hand to warp back to a Kristal Checkpoint without losing any XP.
Here's a look at a few of the textures Nick considered for this consumable before landing on the finished model below.
Last issue, we shared the progress Cass had made on two of the "damaged" row houses that will be featured in our Nasahara Ruins level.
This sprint, Cass finished modeling the third damaged structure and started unwrapping its UVs. For the upcoming sprint, Cass will continue texturing and finessing all three models.
A couple months ago, we asked Bianca to create three custom spider enemies to be featured in the Kristala game.
Here's an update to the third eight-legged fiend Bianca's been working on - a tree trunk spider that's meant to blend in with our Dalamase' level's swampy environment by mimicking the look and feel of an actual tree trunk.
Now that the base sculpt is completed for this beast, Bianca's ready to retopo and paint!
Menu / UI Design
In addition to her spider enemy models, Bianca's been our go-to gal for creating the various icons needed throughout our menu systems. This sprint was no different.
Here's a look at the newest icons Bianca whipped up for us.
In addition to fixing some level-streaming issues we were experiencing, Tiffany also addressed an issue with our inventory menu system in which inventory items weren't showing properly after they had been collected.
She also added a Stat description that shows when you hover over each stat, as well as a display name on hover for inventory items in both the Inventory and Equipment menus (shoutout to Will for helping with this too).
Next, Tiff adjusted hover functionality in the Skill Tree menu to prevent acquired skills from “greying out," and then added skill descriptions on hover for these too.
For the past few dev blog issues, we've been hinting at the work Joe's been doing behind the scenes in regards to plotting out our next level area - the Nasahara Ruins.
This sprint, Joe spent his time focusing on creating the barriers between the Nasahara's sublevels and adding a series of placeholders to represent tall walls throughout the city.
Joe placed white cubes throughout the level to represent the various row homes Cass has been creating, and used beige cubes to represent the city's tall, dilapidated walls that will be added at a later date.
Once the ruined city is completely laid out, Joe will add rubble to block certain pathways (or create new ones) and beautiful archways with intricate stonework to really highlight and emphasize the city's rich, once-grand history.
Joe is also planning on implementing several protrusions and platforms on the sides of some of the walls to not only serve as decoration, but to allow our feline-like Anagativa characters to rest upon or traverse...sort of a cheeky little nod to the cat trees domesticated Earth cats use.
Animation / Rigging / Production
As is customary 'round these parts, Producer Allie oversaw pretty much every aspect of development for Kristala this sprint - including implementing and finessing various weapons, menu functionalities, and animations.
First, Allie played around with a bunch of visual effects for our various potion consumables to see which ones work best with our current gameplay aesthetic.
Next, Allie made some revisions to our aquatic Gilsanka enemy's club weapon. Initially, the weapon was too large when we brought it into the Kristala game build, so Allie not only resized it, but she ensured it works seamlessly with the enemy's combat movements too.
Take a look!
Allie also worked on refining a bunch of our animations, including our player character's forwards, backwards, and backwards-left movement sequences, as well as her side-to-side and sprint sequences too.
While working in our demo level and refining various movements, Allie ran into some interesting bugs. The first was the following anomaly that made our player character seemingly float in mid air.
...Hey, when enemies attack...why not simply fly above them to safely get out of harm's way, right?
Another interesting bug Allie discovered involved our Blight Shield. For some reason, our player character seemed to suddenly lose control of her own hands and arms while wielding the shield...resulting in this pretty hilarious blooper.
Check it out...
Now that we're getting deeper into development on our demo - and so much work is getting done each sprint - Allie has started recording periodic update videos to walk our team through the most recent changes implemented for each sprint.
Here's a peek at Allie's latest update video. We'll regularly be incorporating these into our dev blogs moving forward, so keep an eye out for more.
In addition to an original soundtrack, Kristala will feature a ton of interesting visual and sound effects. A few weeks ago, we had the awesome idea to incorporate some of the sounds found in heavy metal music into our game.
After receiving submissions from various metal artists, our Sound Engineer, Lateo, started implementing and applying some of these unique sounds to our various enemies.
Here's a look at a couple sounds we're using for our Kotakayan warriors and Gilsanka NPCs. We can't wait to share more of these once they're completed.
Kristala Merch Alert!
If you haven't checked it out yet, we now have a Kristala merch store!
In addition to our posters, we've now added some other cool products - including an awesome Astral Clocktower Studios tee and a couple sweet, eco-friendly totes!
Stay tuned for even more custom Kristala gear coming to the store soon.
Whew! ...Talk about a jam-packed dev blog issue!
We really hope you're enjoying the updates you've been seeing from us. If you have, let us know about it! You can register for an account with our site and leave us some comments and feedback on each post.
Plus, you can always join our Discord community to chat directly with the members of our dev team. You'll get exclusive insight into juicy demo deets and exciting announcements too.
We hope the Kristala dev blog has offered you a bit of a break from the craziness that's currently affecting our world. We know it's hard not to worry in the face of so much unknown, but we think it's important to celebrate the good that still exists all around us.
As always, thank you for your continued support...and thanks for stopping by.
-The ACS Games Dev Team